BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa [in Booklist]

Shifting back and forth between present-day San Francisco and a private orphanage in Sri Lanka in 2002, Jayatissa’s debut thriller takes every opportunity to lead readers astray. Paloma Evans was adopted at 12 by wealthy white parents. At 30, she’s living in a grim apartment, calls herself a graphic designer, and actually makes money by selling her used underwear online. Her parents’ financial support isn’t an option anymore. Besides, they’re traveling again as global philanthropists. When the bank won’t give her any more money to pay off her blackmailing roommate, she returns home drunk – again – to find Arun dead and the monstrous ghost from childhood back. Yet by morning, the corpse has disappeared.

Sri Lanka-born-and-domiciled (with a California education) Amanda Jayatissa goes back and forth to portray Paloma now and reveal her origin story. Readers might figure out who’s who and what’s what rather quickly, but the details of how and why will require reaching the final, six-months-later chapter. Meanwhile, Jayatissa has a heyday exposing white-savior syndrome, religious hypocrisy, and mental-health system failures, with plenty of schadenfreude voyeurism.

Review: “Fiction,” Booklist, July 2021

Readers: Adult

Published: 2021


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